Second ‘Space Tourist’ Plans to Conduct HIV Research While on International Space Station
Twenty-eight-year-old South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth, who made his fortune by developing an Internet security business, will conduct HIV experiments as part of his 10- to 12-day trip to the International Space Station next year, the Washington Post reports. Shuttleworth, who reportedly paid $20 million for the trip to the space station aboard a Russian rocket, will become the second "space tourist" after American businessman Dennis Tito made a similar journey in April. "I hope and anticipate my journey will inspire South African youth and increase their interest in science and technology," Shuttleworth said in a statement (Merle, Washington Post, 12/6). According to Interactive Africa, which is handling Shuttleworth's public relations, Shuttleworth will take part in four scientific experiments while in space. One study will examine the interaction of immune cells in a microgravity environment. Because the cells are too small to be observed directly, the research will use a process called soluble protein crystallization to examine immune cell reaction. The other experiments will involve stem cells, the effect of microgravity on the human body and the impact of the launch on educational objectives. The costs for the experiments will be covered by Shuttleworth, and the results will be made public. "I have always dreamed of space as a platform for inspiration, education and technology, and am working to realize that dream for South Africa," Shuttleworth, who is currently training at Star City, outside of Moscow, said (South African Press Association, 12/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.